Chen Wenji

  • CV
  • Text

1954 Born in Shanghai, China

1978 Graduated from Printmaking Department of CAFA, served as Assistant Professor at Printmaking Department of CAFA, Lecturer at Folk Art Department, Professor at Mural Department, Chief of Basic Teaching and Research Section of CAFA, Executive Council at Oil Painting Association.

CAFA hosted Chen Wenji solo exhibition as the inaugural exhibition of CAFA Art Museum.

Selected Public Collections

“Red Scarf”, Art Museum of Hong Kong University

“Chair, Furnace”, Great British Museum

Awards and Publications

1987       Blue Sky, Gray Environment(1986), Excellence Award at the 1st Annual Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition

1991       Silver Medal at the 2nd Annual Chinese Oil Painting Exhibition

1993       The Red Scarf, Silver Medal at the ‘93 China Oil Painting Annual Exhibition organized by China Oil Painting Association

2004       One Day, Excellence Award at the 10th National Art Exhibition, organized by China Artists Association

2010       Wu Zuoren Art Award Nomination Award organized by Wu Zuoren International Fine Arts Foundation

2013      Unexpected(2010), China Art Award and Creation Award at the 12th National Art Exhibition

1988       Sichuan Fine Arts Publishing House published Chen Wenji's sketch collection "Chen Wenji Human Body"

2006       People's Fine Arts Publishing House published a portfolio of "Chen Wenji Works”

Auction Records

《Dried Orange Peel》1992,oil on canvas,170×140cm,RMB 8,165,000,Beijing Hanhai 2011 Spring Auction

《Old Rose》1996,oil on canvas,140×180cm,RMB 6,382,500,Beijing Hanhai 2018 Autumn Auction

《Brimful》2009,oil on canvas,197x350cm,RMB 2,242,500,Beijing Council 2017 Autumn Auction


After graduating from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Chen Wenji's creation did not follow the "85 Art Trend" suit. He voluntarily chose an alienated approach to paint. Therefore, we will find a calm temperament in a series of oil paintings dated from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, such as "yellow couch", "pink paper", "red scarf", etc. However, these accessible works do not seem to match Chen's idea of being "more authentic'——the delicate, autistic and melancholy kind of expression.

In the mid-1990s, a large number of still lifes appeared in Chen Wenji's works, such as cardboard boxes, cups, fluorescent tubes, etc., under the influence of Spanish artist Antonio Lopez Garcia. During this period, his iconic work "Red Scarf" was born. In 1995, Chen Wenji set up his studio in Yanjiao, an hour drive from Beijing. At the end of the 1990s, Chen Wenji's creative perspective broadened and more descriptions of the exterior scene appeared. The likes of "Supreme Series", "Vision", "Keeping Light" came into being.

Since 2006, Chen Wenji's creative thinking has undergone further changes. He began to describe simple forms and conceptual objects in a rigorous and detailed manner. These new works are an in-between creature of the plane and stereoscopic. At first glance, they strike one with Anish Kapoor's simplicity. However, through his superb painting techniques, the texture on canvas present a smooth tangible surface like a 3D sculpture. At this time, as Chen Wenji said, his creation is closer to childhood nature than he ever was.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2016    Chen Wenji: Solo Exhibition in Taipei, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei

Because of / -2016 Chen Wenji New Works, AYE Gallery, Beijing

2012       Since-Works by Chen Wenji 2008-2012, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen

2011       WHAT - Chen Wenji's New Works 2011, AYE Gallery, Beijing

2010       Central Academy of Fine Arts Annual Fine Arts Nomination Exhibition - 2010 Chen Wenji, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing

2006       All- Chen Wenji's Solo Exhibition, AYE Gallery, Beijing

1999       Exhibition of Chen Wenji's Oil Painting, CourtYard Gallery, Beijing

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021       White 2021: The WHITE 2021: When “The Post Digital Era” Meets                                                 “Cluttercore"    , Whitebox Art Center, Beijing

The Superiority of the Invisible - Chinese Abstract Painting, Galerie Frank      Schlag & Cie., Essen, Germany

Nine-Tiered Pagoda: Spatial and Visual Magic⑤—Similar Results, Different      Approaches - Chen Wenji + Ding Yi + Liang Quan + Tan Ping, Pingshan Art      Museum, Shenzhen

2020       Waves and Echoes: A process of Re-contemporarization in Chinese Art  Circa 1987 Revisited, Beijing Inside-out Art Museum, Beijing

Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese and Korean Abstract Painting                         Travelling Exhibition, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing

From the Mundane World--Launch Exhibition of He Art Museum, He Art      Museum, Shunde, Guangdong, China

2019       Brilliant Portrayals of Beijing Spanning 70 years, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

2018      Bob · Bonies + Chen Wenji, AYE Gallery, Beijing

2017      Blank Cheque - AYE Gallery Beijing in Berlin, CFA, Berlin, Germany

2014      The Twelfth National Exhibition of Fine Arts & Exhibition of Nominated Works for Chinese Fine Art Awards, Creative Awards, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

2012      IN TIME-2012 Chinese Oil Painting Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

               Ctrl+N Non-Linear Practice 2012 Kwangju Biennale Special Exhibition, Kwangju Museum of Art, Kwangju, Korea

Visionary: Contemporary Fine Arts of China CAFA, Wimbledon College of Art, UAL, London, UK

Openness and Integration- Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary

2010       Thirty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art 1979-2009, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai

2008       China's Revision, Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany

2005      The 10th National Exhibition of Fine Arts - Awarded Works, National Art Museum of China, Beijing

2000    Exhibition of Chinese Oil Painting in 20 Century, National Art Museum of               China, Beijing